How to Make Grape Wine Step-by-Step

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You do not have to own a vineyard to make your own wine. Grapes can be purchased at any supermarket or fruit stand, and wine-making equipment stores often sell them in bulk at wholesale prices. Vineyards also often let consumers pick their own grapes. Wine-making techniques are varied, and thousands of grape types belonging to up to 30 species are available. The most commonly used species of grape for wine-making is Vitis vinifera. The steps to making wine can be as simple as shown here or a lot more complex if you prefer. Either way, you will end up with wine. This recipe makes about five gallons of wine.

Things You'll Need

  • Three Plastic 5-gallon buckets
  • Two 5-gallon carboys each with bung and airlock
  • Crusher or 4ft 4 x4 wood
  • Hydrometer
  • Grape press
  • Muslin cloth
  • Sterilized wine bottles
  • Sterilized jar
  • Measuring cup
  • Grapes
  • Campden tablets
  • Pectic enzyme
  • Wine Yeast
  • Fill two 5-gallon buckets with grapes. Fill a third bucket halfway with the grapes for convenience, and use a grape crusher or stamp down on them with a 4-foot long piece of 4 foot by 4 foot lumber. Add more grapes and stamp or crush them, and repeat the process until you have between 4 to 5 gallons in two buckets. This mixture of juice and pulp is called the must.

  • Test the specific gravity. Place 4 to 5 cups of must on a muslin cloth inside a bowl. Tie the bag and squeeze 1 or 2 cups of juice out of it. Pour some of the juice into a hydrometer. This will measure the specific gravity of the grape juice. Set aside half a cup of the juice and write down the reading. Return the remaining juice and pulp to the bucket.

  • Dissolve five crushed Campden tablets in a cup of warm water. The water must not be too hot. Pour half into each of the two buckets. Stir with a wooden spoon (do not use a metal one). Cover with a cloth and leave in a cool dark place for 12 hours. This is potassium bisulfate, which prevents bacteria.

  • Add pectic enzyme. Put 2 tsp. of pectic enzyme into each bucket. This aids in the breakdown of the grape skins. Stir and cover and leave for another 12 hours. At the same time add 1/2 cup of warm water (never hot) to the 1/2 cup of juice you previously set aside. Place in a sterilized jar and sprinkle two 5 mg packets of wine yeast into the mixture. Cover the jar with plastic held in place with a rubber band and leave for 12 hours.

  • Pour half of the yeast mixture into each bucket after the 12 hour waiting period, cover and leave. The action of the yeast will form a cap on the top of the grape juice, which must be stirred down into the grape mixture three times a day for a total of five days.

  • Press the grapes. This is best done with a grape press. Pass the pulp through the press twice to make sure you get all the juice out of it. Pour the juice into sterilized glass carboys, leaving 4 to 6 inches of space at the top. Place a bung with an airlock into the carboy and leave. The fermentation process will form bubbles visible in the airlock. Wait until the fermentation slows down to form a bubble every 15 seconds before the next step.

  • Consult a wine-making chart. Determine how much sugar needs to be added using the initial reading from the hydrometer. Measure the sugar using a measuring cup, and pour it into a bowl and add half its volume of boiling water. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it to cool. When it reaches room temperature add it to the juice in both carboys. Refit the airlock and leave the wine to ferment more.

  • Test the wine regularly. When the specific gravity is .090 to .095, rack the wine to remove the sediment. This simply means pouring it into a clean sterilized carboy and leaving as much sediment behind as possible. Leave it to age for another three to six months, tasting occasionally. When it is ready, rack it into bottles and insert corks. Enjoy.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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